Starting a Small Business

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Starting a small business is a lot harder many individuals think it is. The right idea won’t go anywhere if you don’t establish your idea, set up a business plan, and evaluate the financials.

Establishing your business Idea:
The first step is to establish an innovative and creative business idea. Many people desire to be in business for themselves without a cutting-edge idea. Evaluate your interests and need for your service in your area. People can also go into businesses through an existing business or franchise opportunity.

Writing the Business Plan:
Once your idea is fleshed out you will need to write a concise outline for your business. This is a crucial step and most businesses cannot begin without one. Your business plan outlines an understanding of your service, employee roles, marketing objectives, target market, competitive analysis and finances.

Establishing your projected financing:
Once your business plan is constructed you will have an idea of how much capitol you will need to start and throughout the course of the year. The plan will allow prospective business owners to evaluate your projected business in the future and note the capitol you will need to operate your business. Business Plans are also presented to banks, investors and even friends and family for potential capitol.

Technical aspects:
Once all of those elements are in order prospective business owners need to consider the legal make-up of their company such as sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation and fill out papers with to obtain a federal identification number.

Getting your space:
You will then need to determine the location of your business and begin any renovations, hiring, and starting any marketing at least a month before you ready to open.

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How to Plan a Business

Why Do You Need a Market Opportunity?

It’s not easy to plan a business. And, it is a waste of time to plan a business around an idea that has no chance of success. You need to find a market opportunity that can support a business. So, instead of rushing in to plan your business, step back and first evaluate that business idea and see if it is worth pursuing.

A market opportunity with sales potential exists when there is a critical mass of customers with unmet needs who will spend significant sums to satisfy those needs. When the sales revenues generated by these customers is sufficient to support a business, you have discovered a market opportunity with profit potential.

The focus of a market opportunity evaluation is on sales. While expenses are also a determining factor in projecting business profits, they are generally easier to estimate and they often depend on sales estimates. Therefore, it makes sense to develop a sound estimate of sales before investing time in estimating expenses. And, it certainly makes sense to develop a sound estimate of sales before planning out your business.

The Seven Steps to Finding a Market Opportunity

So, how do you find a market opportunity with sales potential?

Simple, it takes some time, access to the Internet, and knowing what to do. Here are the seven steps to complete.

  1. Become familiar with your industry, its current situation concerning growth and the trends to expect in the future.
  2. Choose a target customer to serve and market area where you will first pursue that customer. (Your choice doesn’t have to be the perfect choice. It just has to be one you are willing to spend your time evaluating.
  3. Analyze the nature and strength of the competition in your market.
  4. Analyze the needs and motivations of your customer. Identify their core needs and desired experiences.
  5. Design an offering that will deliver features that address core needs and desired experiences.
  6. Market test your offering with a sample from your target market group to evaluate the strength of demand.
  7. Develop a sales projection based on your market test and evaluate whether or not revenues are likely to be sufficient to cover costs and leave a profit for your business.

While this type of evaluation is still a lot of work, it avoids the work involved in preparing detailed estimates of expenses, cash flows, and engaging in other types of planning activities that make sense only if you are confident that your idea will succeed.

Tools That Make Small Business Perform Better

It’s often thought by many that running a small business is no big deal. This is quite contradictory. Managing the daily operations is even more challenging when it comes to small setups. This is because the small business owners have to pay more attention to make their operations cost-effective. For this reason, completion of projects, business management, financial concerns and time constraints have all got to be managed very well. Luckily, technology allows you to take control of this without having to interfere with absolutely everything. Naturally, as a small business owner it is not always possible to be on your toes everywhere at the same time.

Here are some fantastic tools that help you perform better if you are an owner of a small business.

1. Toggl

It’s not an understatement when they say time is money. It’s always a race against time for the business owners. Executing all business goals within a limited timeframe is not easy and requires a professional assistance. This is where Toggl plays a major role. It helps to improve the business’ planning process because it helps to know beforehand how much time a task will take up. This helps in team planning and getting better estimates. Toggl is great because it integrates with almost any system!

2. Sellsy

Sellsy is an online sales management software and works magically for small businesses. It’s an excellent tool to control your business without wasting time. As apparent from the name, the main focus in on the sales aspect but it isn’t confined to that. Sellsy can be very well used to manage a website if it’s integrated with the back end. From project management to expense and time tracking, there is a lot that can be done if you start using Sellsy for your small setup!

3. Expensify

Expense management is one of the most challenging aspects of any business. Even more tough is to devise a way in which your employees report to you for the expenditure. Expensify handles all your business expenses and takes care of all the invoices. This time you save from all the stress and paper work can be best utilized in fulfilling the more important business goals. This online tool works magically in providing all expense related solutions.

4. SurveyMonkey

One of the top goals of any progressive business is to gather feedback of existing and potential customers so that you can perform better over the time. For this, SurveyMonkey is an amazing tool for small businesses. Its advanced survey features are great, no matter what the size of your business maybe. It’s the quickest way of getting results from your target market and working on great marketing solutions accordingly.

5. Wintac

If there is one thing you need to use for your business, Wintac is the answer to it. This comprehensive business management tool works magically in providing all solutions that entrepreneurs are looking for. From scheduling work management to inventory management, everything is possible through Wintac!

Business Requirement An Innovative Business Solution

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Primarily, a business requirement is indeed necessary in any businesses. Such business requirements document or also known as the BRD is classified as a great innovative and alternative business solution for any business projects. These sets of projects may include many processes such as the documentation of customer needs and expectations, project management and implementation, and a lot more.

Creating your own business or software requirements may seem to be a critical activity. Thus, this must be performed and administered accordingly to achieve and obtain your business organizational objectives, goals while you all move forward towards an independent solution on a specific business procedural system.

Any business entity must take initiatives to modify and develop existing products or services that they offer. More so, they also have to be willing to introduce new devices, products, services, both software and hardware so as to expand their market and open new horizons as well as avenues for more profit and revenues. Hence, when such development is done, a new business requirement document must be created and introduced.

A particular business requirement document or BRD has many common objectives. Some of them are the following:

a. Gaining concrete contract, agreement or mutual understanding between and among stakeholders.

b. Creating a solid foundation to be able to communicate using innovations towards such a service provider, a program or a technological system.

c. Addressing the issues and other matters on how to meet and satisfy customers’ and business’ needs and demands.

d. Providing necessary inputs into the next phase for such relevant project.

e. Describing the possible ways on how the customer or business needs will be met by the innovating and finalizing business solutions.

Truly, the business requirement document or BRD is referred to by many business experts, entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts as the ultimate foundation for all subsequent project deliverables, relating what inputs and outputs are connected with each process function. Distinguishing between the business solution and the technical solution, the BRD shall be addressing or answering the questions on business capabilities, plans, programs, and involvements.

Creating or putting up a team or a pool of experts such as computer programmers may seem to be a good idea. This lessens the workloads and simplifies everything; thus, it tends to prioritize and observe quality, effectiveness and efficiency. Coming up with consistent, reliable and accurate inputs, processes and outputs, business requirement will surely work at its best – advantageous for you and your business.

Business requirement programmers, analysts and experts should always consider the technical and contextual aspects of the documents or specifications. Also considered as business models and paradigms, these BRDs include detailed descriptions, summaries and other information that you and your market need to know and familiarize. Diagrams, charts and other means of representations may also be useful to maximize resources and for easy understanding.

Tagged as a mere foundation and ultimate framework of the business’ development programs and new projects, business requirement may also involve and include some updates and changes in working activities and practices.

The Project Organization and Management By Exception

Getting the project team set up right relies upon you using Management By Exception

One of the key principles for project management success is ensuring that the PM responsibility must be matched by equivalent authority. The PM can’t be made responsible if they don’t have the ‘clout’ to make things happen.

Each individual on the project, and that includes the project manager, must be provided with a clear understanding of the Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability given to them so that their work can be accomplished. The Solution Lies In Design Of The Project Organization.

When designing the Project Team, start with standard roles such as User representative, hardware engineers, and so forth. Sit down and agree with the individual what responsibilities they will have, and what levels of authority for carrying out their work.

Make sure that these balance. Beware of giving someone (especially yourself!) lots of responsibility but not enough authority to carry out their responsibilities.

A useful one-on-one technique I have used in the past to generate quick agreement is to take a flip chart and draw a vertical line down the middle.

At the top of the left column write “This is what I expect of You” and on the right hand column “This is what You can expect of Me”

Do it in any way that feels comfortable (I usually like to do all the writing and let the other person freely give me their thoughts).

It’s a contract for working well together.

But here’s the thing.

You MUST also do it for management above you. As the Project Manager, you are responsible for delivering the project to times, coast and quality – but senior management have their responsibilities to the project as well. And these need to be agreed. Here are some examples:

Who ‘owns’ the Business Case – it’s not the Project Manager!

Who is responsible for agreeing the User Requirements and signing acceptance of the project deliverables – it’s not the Project Manager!

Who owns the resources – it’s not the Project Manager!

Who has the authority to approve Requests For Change or Off Specifications – it’s not the Project Manager!

Who approves all Plans and ‘underwrites’ the project – it’s not the Project Manager!

Also, beware of stakeholders who see themselves as ‘passive customers’. Be clear that if they are to be any part of the approval process within a project, they must become Active Participants. And that means getting involved early and contributing – and having responsibilities!

Each individual within the organization needs to have three key criteria agreed. So let me start by nailing down what these mean:

Authority. The power granted to a person so that they can make decisions that others are expected to follow. The position or role that a person holds is the usual way that authority is granted.

Responsibility. The obligation a person has to perform their assignments effectively.

Accountability. This means that the person is totally answerable for satisfactory completion of a given assignment.

These three attributes are vital if a project and business management is to complete successfully.

Starting at the beginning, it must be unfair if, after sign-off, the project manager is not allowed to respond to situations. In effect, their hands are tied – how can anyone manage in such as situation?

So the Project Plan is signed off, a budget is agreed, and an end date set. The first mistake senior management make is by stating things such as “I have now approved your plan and I expect you to deliver against it” So nothing can ever change – the project manager isn’t allowed to react to risks and changes.

And of course, the estimates contained within the Plan were perfect, customers never change their minds, problems never occur, the world never changes, and Santa Clause does exist!

But hold on; look on the other side of the coin.

Senior Management within the organization are responsible and accountable for some aspect of the business. They are investing in projects to help optimise what they are responsible for. If it was YOUR money – wouldn’t you want to tie the project down?

The Project Board should have representation from the customer/user side, and the supply side. The “Senior User” has responsibility for agreeing the requirements, acting as the main interface with the customer and users, and accepting the end-product from the project.

The “Senior Supplier” role is responsible for supplying all human and non-human resources to the project. Be aware there might be internal and external suppliers.

Note also that these are roles to be used or shared amongst one or more individuals.

Heading up the Project Board is the Executive who owns the Project Business Case, and has the final say in all project business matters.

Luckily there is a middle ground – a way that makes total sense providing organisations are mature enough to use it.

Just suppose that when a Plan was agreed, management gave the project manager some degree of flexibility (in the form of an agreed deviation from Plan), that management could tolerate. This agreed flexibility would be the PM’s playground that allowed them to do their job.

But what should happen if the PM suddenly forecasts that these deviations will be exceeded? Why of course, they must bring it to the attention of higher management and seek guidance.

But that last paragraph sounds like senior management have abdicated their responsibilities. What I mean is, once the Plan is signed off and the deviation is set – they can disappear off to the golf course until the PM tells them the project is completed.

No, not quite. Senior Management would want a regular report of ACTUAL performance against plan showing the allowed deviations. It allows them to question and advise the PM should they wish to do so. And they are safe in the knowledge that if, between these regular reports, the PM forecasts a significant deviation, it will be immediately brought to their attention.

Welcome to Management By Exception. Vital to organizational business management within the project AND central to Management By Exception.

That’s the principles – time to get specific.

Depending on your business you may use your own cultural names for the various roles that make up a project management team. Here are mine – feel free to change the role titles appropriate to your organisation.

The Project Board are appointed to provide authorization and direction, and the project manager (who reports into the Project Board), is responsible for day-to-day management of the project.

Now, on the project board are three roles, the Executive (owns the Business Case, and has the final say in terms of authority), the User Representative role and the Supplier Representative role.

Having approved the Project Plan, the Project Board need to set an acceptable deviation – this is called Tolerance.

Now, Tolerance can be time, cost, quality, scope, risk, benefit, in fact, any suitable metric. As a simple example, let’s assume Tolerance figures are given as plus/minus 10% deviation of the budget and project end date.

What this means is that the project manager can manage in the normal way with the AUTHORITY to take any appropriate management action AS LONG AS TOLERANCE IS NOT FORECAST TO BE EXCEEDED.

At the time of the Plan being approved, this Tolerance is set, along with the regularity of reports and their contents from the project manager.

Okay, let’s imagine we are part way through the project, and to our horror, we see that the project is forecasting to come in 15% over budget. This triggers the exception process, and the project manager must escalate the situation to the next higher level within the management organization – the Project Board.

Notice that we don’t wait until the deviation has actually happened, because it will be too late for pro-active actions to be taken. The Project Manager will inform the board by an Exception Report (this could be given verbally – but I would want it in writing!)

The Exception Report will contain the following information:

* A description of the cause of forecast deviation from Tolerance.

* The impact or consequences of the deviation

* Available Options to minimise the deviation or remove it completely

* The impact or effect of EACH option on the Business Case, Risks, and Tolerances

* A Recommendation with reasons, of the best option to take

This is sent to the project Board who need to make a decision on one of the options.

Note that one of the options could be to shut the project down prematurely.

The project board level of the organization, will now ask the project manager to draft a new Plan based on the chosen option and this is reviewed by them. A decision is made to approve the new plan (called an Exception Plan), or again prematurely close the project.

Once approved, new Tolerances are set and the project proceeds under the new plan.

Final Thoughts.

Unfortunately, upper management within the project organization, are often suspicious that the project manager may use Tolerance as ‘code’ for padding – and as a safety net for poor estimates and re-work.

But they have missed the point. It is there to give the PM enough authority to carry out his/her responsibilities.

So the tendency to start with, is the Project Board set VERY tight tolerances – with the consequence of the project manager forever raising Exception Reports to bring small deviations to their attention.

Experienced Project Boards (in particular the Executive), will know that Tolerance should be tied back and based on the Business Case. The Executive should ask themselves “what level of Tolerance can I TOLERATE before being bought into the loop and will this level of Tolerance deviation still keep the Business Case VIABLE”.

Professionalism In Business Translation

Among the most costly mistakes a corporation can make when contracting services for business translation is the avoidance of paying fair salaries for the work. This attempt may take the form of assigning the job to an employee that knows the language and wants the extra money, or using software programs. What is even more harmful is the use of free applications for important business translation projects. All such unwise approaches cause the down falls of utilizing a computer and/or unskilled translators and interpreters.

Inexperienced Translators

To precisely show the problems of not employing individuals trained for premier business translation, a real life occasion can be shared. A national medical insurance company in the United States made two of the above mentioned mistakes in response to the business translation needs of their Spanish speaking patrons. A bilingual employee and customer care representative was offered the project of translating disclaimers and desktop responses in English, into Spanish. The verbal and informal contract, presented no deadlines to be met. As a consequence, the company’s beneficiaries who spoke Spanish continued waiting for service in their language. Looking to solve the problem, management decided to ask the team of bilingual employees to work on the project as a whole. This only turned out to be more frustrating due to the representation of different dialects and educational backgrounds of the team members. Disagreements over choice of vocabulary gave rise to a deterioration in relationships and, eventually, interfered with the project and the company’s vow to serve their Spanish speaking customers. None of these blunders and hindrances would have taken place had the company perceived the need for professional assistance with their business translation needs.

Translations by Machine

Computers are great for swiftly accomplishing many difficult projects–business translation should not be one of them. Why not? Anyone who has read something translated by machine, can agree that it’s unable to read natural language. Idioms are mainly responsible for this. Idioms are phrases whose meaning cannot be gathered from the literal translation of the words of which the phrase is composed. Natives of the English language, when verbally repeating the words of someone else, will frequently say, “and then she went….” using the verb ‘to go’ as though it were the verb ‘to say’. Imagine the ludicrous translation that would result from a machine in this case; next, imagine the embarrassment companies would experience if they relied on software for business translation.

Analysis of the Need

Company directors should analyze every business translation project as it comes up. Generally speaking, it’s unwise to receive services from a bilingual employee for a time consuming job. Time intensive projects could distract from his daily duties. Nevertheless, fairly small projects may be handled successfully by an employee, and carries the advantage of insider knowledge. Keep in mind, the worker should have the education needed to provide grammatically correct and accurate translations. Preferably, he should also speak the dialect of the customers.

Translations by robots should be rejected for important business translation demands. Machines were not created for this type of work.

CMM and Software Project Planning

Software project planning is a Key Process Area (KPA) that spans many of the knowledge areas from the PMBOK as it describes activities performed during the planning phase of a software project. The knowledge involved include: Integration Management, Scope Management, Time Management, Cost Management, Human Resource Management, Procurement Management, Risk Management, and Communications Management. The only area not touched is Quality Management. Many project managers also define a change management process that covers each area of the project and describe that process in a Change Management plan. This plan also supports the Software Project Planning KPA.

CMM divides this KPA into goals, commitments, abilities, activities, measurements, and verifications. This article will attempt to relate each of these to its PMBOK component.

Goals
CMM defines 3 goals for this KPA: software estimates are documented and used to plan and track the project, activities are documented and planned, and affected groups agree to their commitments. These goals are supported by the Time Management knowledge area with the exception of the agreement of “affected groups” to their commitments. Agreement of senior management and other stakeholders to the plan is accomplished by Gate Review meetings described in the Communications Management plan and agreement of other team members is described in the Human Resources Management plan.

Commitment to Perform
The first commitment is that a project software manager is designated for managing the work. This would be you. The Project Charter is the document that speaks to this. The next commitment is that the project follows a written organizational policy for planning a software project. Unless your organization includes a PMO, or PMC, you won’t be able to meet this commitment to perform; your plans apply only to the current project and aren’t part of a standard applicable to all projects. Some of the specifics of this commitment can be supported by your plan, however. Some will be supported by your Project Management plan. This could be one document or a compilation of plans for each of the knowledge areas. The second commitment requires negotiation of the requirements with the project manager, software project manager, and other software managers. This process is described in your Scope Management area in the Requirements Gathering process. The process of negotiating the participation of the various software development groups on the project should be described in your Human Resources Management plan. This is described for you in the Acquire Project Team process. Keep in mind that while the PMBOK is referring to the entire team, CMM refers to only those groups engaged in software development.

The second commitment also specifies that senior management reviews all software related commitments made to external stakeholders. This review should take place at a Gate, Phase Exit, or Business Decision Point review meeting which will be described in your Communications Management plan. Keep in mind that this meeting will review all project commitments, not just software related ones. These reviews are described in more detail for you in the Context and Integration Management areas of the PMBOK.

Ability to Perform
CMM requires the work of the project to be described in a Statement of Work (SOW). Again, CMM only refers to that portion of the work related to software development. The PMBOK describes the SOW and its use in the Integration Management and Procurement Management knowledge areas. The description in the PMBOK will deliver an SOW that satisfies CMM criteria. Although the PMBOK specifies this artifact for work that is procured externally, an SOW must be produced for each project to satisfy the CMM criterion.

The second ability requires responsibility for developing the project plan to be assigned. This is your work and responsibility should be defined in your Project Charter. The third ability speaks to the provision of adequate resources and funding. The Estimate Activity Resources and Activity Duration Estimating processes in Time Management describe how resource requirements are derived. Human resources are assigned to your project by the Acquire the Project Team process in the Human Resources Management area and any other resources, such as software testing tools, are acquired by the Procurement Management plan. Funding is addressed in the Cost Management area, but CMM refers specifically to the provision of the funding. This provision should be negotiated and committed to at the Gate Review meeting that happens between planning and implementation. Funding for planning activities will only be negotiated and committed to when your organization is performing the project for an external customer under contract.

The fourth ability refers to your training in the area of software project planning. This criterion can easily be satisfied by a project manager who has been certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP). PMI is the most recognized certification body in the area of project management and certification is relatively straightforward for those who meet PMI’s criteria. Certification requires eligible candidates to pass an exam testing their project management knowledge, including planning knowledge. There are numerous PMP courses or PMP exam preparation training products available to prepare you to pass the exam.

The ability also calls for any other person involved in planning to be trained in software estimation and planning. This is a somewhat more difficult criterion to meet. Since you will rely on Subject Matter Experts on your team to provide accurate effort estimations for the various tasks in the WBS, you will need to identify the process you will use to do the estimating and provide any tools and training required to use the chosen process. The process of training those individuals will be described in your Human Resources Management plan (Develop the Project Team).

Activities Performed
Activities called for by CMM include:

  1. The software engineering group participates on the project proposal team. The software engineering group will be engaged in the project as team members and SMEs as described in the Project Charter (critical or key resources) and the Project Staff Assignments produced by the Acquire the Team process. If your project entails drafting a proposal in response to an RFP (Request for Proposal), then these documents should assign key engineering group resources to this work. The documents should also assign responsibility for review of the work commitments to the engineering group.
  2. Software planning is initiated in the early stages of, and in parallel with, the overall project planning. It is.
  3. The software engineering group participates with other affected groups in the overall project planning throughout the project’s life. This participation will be defined by the Project Staff Assignments document, and other project plans which define roles and responsibilities. These SMEs should also be assigned responsibility for providing analysis and estimation for change requests in the Change Management plan.
  4. Commitments made to external groups are reviewed with senior management according to a documented procedure. This procedure will be your Gate Review meetings as described previously.
  5. A software life cycle with predefined stages of manageable size is identified or defined. The Software Development Lifecycle Method (SDLC) should be specified in your project charter as part of your approach to the project. Stages or iterations will be further defined in the WBS and schedule.
  6. The project’s software development plan is developed according to a documented procedure. This documented procedure is called the Project Management Plan. This can be one document or many. This activity also specifies that the plan is negotiated with the software engineering group doing project work and other groups that are stakeholders, and that the plan is managed and controlled. Management and control activities are specified in the Project Management plan and Change Management plan.
  7. The plan for the software project is documented. Documentation will be the Project Management plan, including the project schedule. This activity specifies software configuration management and this process should survive the project. If there is no software configuration management plan in place for your project to use because you are creating a new system, your project management plans should include creation of a configuration management plan.
  8. Software work products that are needed to establish and maintain control of the software project are identified. This refers to the files that will be checked into the source library and managed by the configuration management plan. These files will be specified in Detail Design Documents (DDDs), the WBS, and the project schedule.
  9. Estimation is done according to a documented procedure. This activity specifies that organizational experience in estimation be used to guide the current estimation and that historical information be consulted when available. This refers to the “Enterprise Environmental Factors” and “Organizational Process Assets” which are inputs to many PMBOK processes including the Activity Duration Estimation process. The activity further specifies that the estimates should be agreed to by the folks performing the work. Although this is not spelled out in the PMBOK it is always a good idea to have the resource agree to the work and deadline they are asked to commit to. This agreement and commitment needs to be documented somewhere in the Project Plans.
  10. A documented procedure is used to estimate project effort and cost.These procedures should be documented in the Time Management plan and Cost Management plan. Agreement to effort estimations is described above and agreement to cost is achieved during Gate Review meetings described in the Communications Management plan
  11. A documented procedure is used to estimate critical computer resources. This is a specific instance of the resource estimation produced by the Estimate Activity Resource and the Activity Duration Estimation processes and captured in the Time Management plan.
  12. The project’s software schedule is derived according to a documented procedure. This is accomplished by the procedures described in the Time Management area, up to and including the Schedule Development procedure.
  13. The risks are identified, assessed and documented. This is part of your Risk Management plan.
  14. Plans for the project’s software engineering facilities and support tools are prepared. This is part of the Estimate Activity Resource procedure. Acquisition of non-human resources is managed by the WBS, or the Procurement Management plan where resources must be procured externally.
  15. Software planning data are recorded. The estimates will be recorded in the schedule and estimation information, including assumptions, will be recorded in the WBS. In most cases the schedule and WBS will be one and the same document, your MS Project file.

Measurement and Analysis
CMM requires you to track the progress of your planning activities. The Time Management processes culminate in the project schedule so we can’t say that this measurement is supported by Time Management. The initiation of the project will usually result in a preliminary schedule of planning events, milestones, and deliverables in your MS Project file. The planned and actual dates in this file are what you will use to track progress.

Verifying Implementation
CMM calls for project planning activities to be reviewed with senior management periodically. These reviews will be described in your Communications Management plan. The senior management referred to may be the project business sponsor, the project IT sponsor, or a Steering Committee, or a combination of these. Your Gate Review meeting to move the project forward from the initiation phase to the planning phase is also verification. CMM also calls for a summary report from each of these meetings to be prepared and distributed. Status review meetings are also called for and a summary report is to be issued for these meetings.

CMM requires a software quality assurance group to review/audit the project plans. This audit or review may be a service that your PMO or PMC provide, if your organization has one. This software quality assurance group could be an existing group in your organization or that role could be assumed by your PMO or PMC. If your organization has neither of these groups, it will have to create one in order to satisfy this point.

Project Management Templates and Your Business

One common feature in any type of project is the need for proper management, in order to ensure the highest level of efficiency and productivity. While many projects can be managed manually, it makes more sense to use project management templates for accurate reporting. For successful implementation of a project, it is imperative to make regular and reliable reports back to the investors. Project management templates make it easier to do so.

Successful implementation requires a complete understanding of the project, the process being adapted for its execution and its status by way of returns. Different PM templates work differently. The Project manager must understand how he can make the best use of the template and determine what are the specific inputs required for the accurate monitoring and assessment.

Project management templates prove to be of immense help for the efficient management of any project. It becomes all the more challenging if you have to simultaneously manage different projects. Unless you are very careful, the project may get unduly delayed or remain incomplete. Management templates help to ease this pressure, allowing for a successful completion of the project.

The management of any project requires the simultaneous handling of a number of factors, of which, the two most important are the arrangements and the clarity. Many find it difficult to finish the project on time. That is when templates come in handy. A good template has a very simple design and it is user-friendly. A good template should also cover each and every management feature of a specific project, allowing the automation of the majority of monitoring and reporting tasks.

When making huge investment in projects, businesses are keen to get a regular feedback on how the funds are getting invested. PM templates make a perfect tool for keeping a check on the ongoing developments of the project and their outcome.

One way to ensure that the best practices are followed in the project documentation is to include them in the PM templates. That helps ensure a consistent flow of information while capturing critical data.

Project management templates are imperative for making better decisions, as they reflect a true picture of the progress of the project.

The templates are helpful in speeding up work, as they maintain continuity when you have numerous people working on the same project, and thus helping the project manager and his team to remain focused, and deliver enhanced output.

The templates allow you to stop work at any time and then again get started seamlessly from the point it was stopped, so that it remains on track. Therefore, they facilitate an efficient management of the project without losing valuable time and effort. Project management templates are indispensable for businesses wanting to save time, money and effort.

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What is the Basic Requirement For Project Management Software

I have found the list of so many project management softwares in the market. Every project software company claims to be providing a number of services. But few of them cater to basic needs of the project managers, individual or company. What are these basic needs? Let’s discusses few of them.

o Simpler than Simplest: Project management System interface should be incredibly simple and interactive, with most of the users will able to quickly master it. You can easily manage multiple projects, add tasks, create milestones, share files, quickly search and easily communicate through secure and safe environment. You do not need to study books or tutorial to learn the same. It should be self interactive and have small learning curve.

o Fit in your Budget: Online project business management service fits in everyone pocket. There are many more alternatives offered in the market, but service or plans are created for all-sized businesses, whether they need a low volume or a high volume of users or storage space. Even individuals or freelancers also like to manage or organize their project through project management software.

o Effective Communication: Project management software makes it easy for all project managers or team members and even clients to stay connected and share information for effective collaboration, performance and response. Project Management tools are very useful in updating team about new happenings. All team including clients are aware about latest updates regarding products.

o Based on Customers’ requirements: Most of the features that have been added in Project Business Management Software should be requested by customers or project managers. Customer satisfaction is imperative; only those services and software remain in market which fulfills all project managers’ requirements.

o Online Service: No company wants to have desktop application software. Everyone likes to have online services. There are lot many companies like insurance, financial groups, courier, IT firms, e-learning centers, outsourcing firms and many more where team work from remote locations also. So Web Based Online Project Management Software is more popular then desktop application. Where you can have your accounts in few minutes?

Although list of requirement can be much longer then this but I think these are the very basic requirement of any project manager or company who want to use project business management software or services. What do ou think? What is your requirement for a project management system?

What Are Project Management Tools

Project Management Tools

Project Management requires the use of a set of tools to effectively control the various elements of the project. These tools are, for the most part set up during the initiation or planning phases of the project.

The Project Schedule is the timeline of the project. Typically this is represented as a Gantt chart which shows the specific activities, the timing for each activity, the dependancies and the resources required. The most common way of creating such a chart is using the Microsoft Project tool.

Either included within the Schedule, or managed separately, you will also need to plan the resources you need to complete each task and the cost of delivering each component. This is covered in the Resource and Cost Management Tools

The Project Business Case. Many people don’t think of this as a tool but it is the critical measure against which any project must be compared. Projects cost money and time and so running one needs to deliver some benefits. The comparison between the cost of the project and the benefits it will deliver are the business case. The business case should be checked periodically throughout the lifecycle, and in particular when anything in the project changes, to make sure that it makes sense to continue.

The Project Scope sets out the extent of what the project is going to deliver and, perhaps just as importantly, what it is not going to deliver. Requests to change this should be managed through Change Control.

Project Change Control is the tool by which changes to the scope, timing or budget should be controlled. The change should be logged and the impact of the change estimated, and compared to the business case.

Project Risk Management. When planning a project the risks to success should be identified and actions planned to prevent them from causing problems. Risk Management should then continue throughout the life cycle with new risks being logged, evaluated and actions planned. (note. It is acceptable for the action to be do nothing, this requires that the risk, and its potential consequences is accepted.)

Project Issue Management. Sometimes things go wrong, it happens, and when it does we call on the Issue Management process to deal with it. First we evaluate the impact of the issue and then decide on the course of action that is appropriate to deal with it.

Project Quality Management. How do you know if the project is delivering to the right standard? That’s where Quality Management comes in. The Quality plan defines what the quality requirement is and how it will be checked and measured.